Monday, June 3, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris SKATING PARTY

Perception, Perception,Perception. Just look at it! Now if I was to tell you that this iris is 'Historic' I think it would not be unreasonable for readers to inquire what has the Iris Hunter been drinking? or maybe recommend to me some restful accommodation with discreet professional support. However folks I kid you not, 'Skating Party' has this year being newly classified as 'Historic' because it is thirty years old and that's the official determination of the classification. This method of classification of a so called 'Historic Iris' is increasingly becoming a visual confusion for the general gardening public, and if a survey was done, you know the kind of thing where someone walks around a flower or garden show with pictures of irises from various vintages it would be a sure bet very few survey respondents would label most surviving irises of the 60's, 70's and 80's as 'historic'. Most of these irises are still listed in commercial catalogues today as 'Modern Tall Bearded Irises', (See the 'Schreiners' listing below). If the classification is to be taken seriously by the gardening public then at the very least it should apply to an iris that looks like its Historic. More than 650 irises including 'Skating Party' were registered in 1983, and all of these modern irises have now become listed as 'historic' in this year 2013, or another way of looking at it is there is now 650 more reasons why this 'Historic Classification' needs to change, and that 'caring not a whit about it' is not the clever option .

Many irisarians are happy to have just one white iris but you can't lump me in with that crowd. I've said it before and I'll say it again, all gardens can never have enough 'White Irises', they give a balance that is unbeatable and after all nothing clashes with white. They also can be the first irises to bloom in the season and 'Cascade Pass' (Cooper '70) is my earliest white iris to bloom, 'Skating Party' and 'America's Cup' (McWhirter,'88) are the last to bloom for me at home. 

'Skating Party' is a strong grower with good clean foliage clumps up quickly and with its profusion of bloom stalks can quickly become a bold garden feature with great carrying power. If you haven't got this iris it's high time you did! A Modern Classic iris that more than earns it place in the garden.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 1983.
SKATING PARTY  (Gaulter,83) M-L, 34"
Have you been looking for the 'all-whitest' iris? Here is a new one that should fill the bill. The beards are a lemon-white and the bloom is fluted all around.There is some flare in the falls, but the whole is very ruffly with nine buds to each 3-branch stalk.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 2002.
SKATING PARTY  (Gaulter,83) M-L, 34"
All time favorite white iris. The beards are lemon white and the bloom is fluted all round.There is some flare in the falls, but the whole is very ruffled with nine buds to each stalk. H.M.'85; A.M.'89.

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 2013 Collector's Edition.
SKATING PARTY  (Gaulter,83) M-L, 36"
Large and generously ruffled, Skating Party is a pristine white with lemon tinted beards. This finely balanced and well-formed Iris is an ideal addition to the white garden. H.M.'85; A.M.'89.

IRIS Flowers of the Rainbow, Graeme Grosvenor
Recommended Cultivars, WHITE.
'Skating Party'(Gaulter, 1983) has been my favourite white Iris for many years. It is a pure white with a white beard, heavily ruffled and of very attractive form. The very strong spikes carry 8 to 10 blooms which open nicely in sequence for an extended period, making this Iris ideal in the garden and on the show bench. Health and vigour are both excellent and 'Skating Party' will produce a large club in two years from a single rhizome. It moves easily and establishes quickly and I have found it admirable in a variety of climates. The tall spikes, reaching 90-100 cm, are bloom mid to late season and are able to withstand all but the worst weather. I have observed 'Skating Party' over many years and it never performs badly, even in less than perfect seasons. It is breeding is (Portrait of Larrie x Carriage Trade) x a sibling.

AIS Checklist 1989
SKATING PARTY (L. Gaulter, R. 1983) Sdlg. 77-45. TB, 34" (86 cm), M-L Fluted white; lemon beard tipped white. (Portrait of Larrie x Carriage Trade) X sib. Cooley's Gardens 1983. HM 1985, AM 1989.

I did write a little about these 'Confusing Historic's'  last September in my post 'Historic Iris 'TIME FOR CHANGE'

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.


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